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A firefighter is a first responder and rescuer who has received extensive training in firefighting. The primary responsibility of a firefighter is to put out dangerous fires that threaten life, property, and the environment. Firefighters also rescue people and, in some cases or jurisdictions, animals who are in perilous situations. There are occasions when the term "fireman" is used to refer to male firefighters (and, less commonly, a female firefighter as firewoman).

One of the three primary types of emergency services is the fire service, which in certain countries may also be referred to as the fire brigade or the fire department. Firefighters are now found in almost every part of the globe, from rural communities to maritime settings.

Throughout the course of their career, firefighter's routinely put their knowledge and abilities to the test in the form of training exercises and assessments. The fundamentals of firefighting are often taught in fire academies or training programmes that have been authorised at the municipal, regional, or state level. Additional skills and certifications, such as technical rescue and pre-hospital medicine, may also be obtained at this time if they are required by a department. These criteria may vary from department to department.

A tight working relationship exists between firefighters and other emergency response services, such as the police and the emergency medical service. Both of these categories could be applicable to the duty of a firefighter. The origin of a fire is often investigated by fire marshals or fire investigators. Their duties will intersect with that of law enforcement if the fire was started intentionally or was caused by carelessness. In addition, firefighters frequently provide at least some level of emergency medical service. In some jurisdictions, firefighters can become certified as paramedics and work full-time in that capacity from engine, truck, and rescue companies. This allows them to initiate advanced life support while waiting for an ambulance.